Valentine’s Day is such a wonderful time of year to let the one we love know how much we value them, And, with the desire to express our love, sometimes we may overlook the most important piece of the "love puzzle."

That piece is found in the way we take care of our own selves. The way we care for ourselves directly influences our ability to love another person. If we do not love our self, it can diminish the way that we nurture another human being.

The well-worn phrase, “put your own oxygen mask on first” remains the best reminder for developing a daily guideline to begin to improve the way that we practice self-care.

So this season, whether you are in a relationship or not, be sure to focus on your own well-being.

Each day, start with little steps:

Inspire yourself to find one small challenge that moves you out of your comfort zone. This could be something as small as taking a different way home, attending a community event that you never thought would interest you, or buying a fruit or a vegetable that you have never eaten, just to try it.

Amuse yourself by doing something small that is out of your ordinary routine. Discover something new that is fun to do. Perhaps, merely pulling over in your car to stop and gaze at a vista that you never noticed before or deciding to read about a simple topic online, such as the history of comedy. Go play skee-ball at the arcade, no matter how old you are.

Make a new connection. Seek out and say hello to a neighbor that you do not know. Invite a neighbor that you do know to walk around the block with you.

Be active. Engage with nature. For example, walk 500 steps from the Ecola parking lot wooden bridge, up the incline. Count your steps. Stop at the chain link overlook point and take in your proximity to the Lighthouse.

Be grateful. Find and focus on points of gratitude in your life as you move through the day. Be sure to count your blessings every time you have a meal.

Get good rest. No matter how hectic you think your life is, carve out even the smallest moment to practice the art of resting.

Don’t forget to breathe.

A happy, healthy insider tips for the Best Valentine’s Day ever: It’s OK to fall in love with taking care of…. you!!


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